Mozilla to Enterprises: "I Want to Hold Your Hand"

by Sam Dean - Jul. 22, 2011Comments (4)

Recently, we took note of the fact that some enterprises are complaining about Mozilla's newly introduced rapid release cycle for the Firefox browser. For years, Mozilla pursued a slow release cycle with its browser, and Google Chrome, over its life, has had far more significant upgrades than Firefox has had, even though Firefox is much older. For security reasons and more, some enterprises have opposed new versions of Firefox appearing at a rapid-fire pace, and we also recently covered Mozilla's reaction to these enterprises, which was largely perceived to be arrogant. Now, Mozilla appears to be changing its tune, relaunching a significant enterprise-focused effort that could patch up the company's problems with IT administrators.

 Mozilla's Asa Dotzler was quoted on ExtremeTech playing down the controversy over IT distrust of new Firefox releases:

"While IT professionals like Mike Kaply are left biting their nails, Mozilla’s Asa Dotzler says they shouldn’t expect Mozilla to share their concern. Dotzler states that Firefox’s 2 million-plus consumer downloads are Mozilla’s focus, not the comparatively small number of enterprise installs."

That seeming brush-off of by Mozilla toward IT administrators and enterprise users prompted quite a bit of backlash. Now, though, Mozilla Foundation is  re-forming the Mozilla Enterprise User Working Group (MEWG). According to the group page:

"The Mozilla Enterprise User Working Group is where enterprise developers, IT staff and Firefox developers can discuss the challenges, ideas and best practices for deploying Firefox in the enterprise. The group will meet monthly via phone and continue conversations on the discussion list as well as at an annual forum."

 This is a complete reversal in attitude on Mozilla's part, and the right move to make. Firefox and Google Chrome can't continue to take market share away from Microsoft's Internet Explorer without convincing enterprise administrators that these browsers are safe, secure, and thoroughly tested. It just won't happen. Furthermore, nothing could produce more distrust from enterpise IT administrators than statements that make it seem like they don't figure into the grand scheme of things.

Microsoft knows that, and it now appears that Mozilla is learning about it.


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There is nothing wrong with repaid releases. The problem is that older releases are not maintained anymore and upgrade to new version is must if you like to have a secure browser. This is wrong. I think Mozilla should do the LTS (long term support) versions, just like Ubuntu has:

For example Firefox 5.0 gets LTS and it is maintained for e.g. 3 years. All next versions like Firefox 6.0, 7.0 and 8.0 are not LTS and are maintained less time or not at all and then Firefox 9.0 is LTS again and it is maintained for 3 years. So in this case enterprise customers will stick to LTS releases and migrate to new browser version when new LTS is released (probably some months after when first fixes for LTS are ready).

But I do agree that Mozilla had to do something about rapid release, because Google Chrome is just to competitive and doing nothing just means losing market share.

On the other hand if Mozilla does not do anything about enterprises, they will be force to use Microsoft Internet Explorer again, just because it is using slowly acceptable strategy.

The most important in enterprise market are NOT new features, but extra stable system. New features are important for home users, specially geeky users like to see new features. But in any case Google shake up the market with new rapid release and rapid upgrade!, so Mozilla had to do something about it if it likes to stay relevant in the future.

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Not 3 years please. That's an absolute age in development terms. If an new fast release is coming out every 3 months, why not have a LTS edition every year? Seems a reasonable compromise and the code base shouldn't have drifted all that much so patching it should be less of an issue making maintenance that little bit less arduous.

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My avant browser can import Advertising filtering rules but I have no time to look for it.can avant browser use this extension?

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I suffered through the problems associated with the release and installation of Mozilla 4.0. I have no interest in downloading Firefox 5.0 as it will most likely contain the same bravo sierra as the previous version. Until Mozilla gets their ass in gear forget it.

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